A Point’s A Point You Cannot Grumble…
Newcastle United 0 West Ham 0
Saturday 24 August 3pm
So many things about this match were predictable but before the start I had a nasty shock.
In the morning I heard a nasty rumour that Shola was playing ahead of Gouffran, unfortunately it turned out to be more than just a ‘rumour’.
You can’t blame it all on the elder Ameobi but he wasn’t exactly a help was he. His lack of movement and poor control gave little help to Cisse and his teammates, while the repeated long balls were simply depressing and right up Fat Sam’s street.
Alan Pardew complained afterwards about Allardyce’s negative tactics – two things (well three) on that; pot, kettle and hardly a surprise with one of the visiting manager’s teams.
Not one single shot on target for Newcastle the whole game, it was little better for the visitors but at least they created some decent chances even though they were wasted.
Our players did control the ball more in the second half but without little end product, with nobody to pick the pass out then you find yourselves passing for passing’s sake.
The closest to a goal was when Sammy Ameobi’s off-target cross hit the far post and bounced back into play, Gouffran was stretching and hit the rebound over, he could/should have done a little better but it wasn’t clear whether the linesman’s flag had gone up anyway, despite Gouffran clearly onside.
Ironically, it was Gouffran reacting/anticipating too quickly that got him slightly in front of the rebound, no chance of that being a problem for Shola who I still don’t think has moved to get that rebound!
The Mag man of the match went to Vurnon Anita who credit to him was very economical linking play around the pitch but partnered with the hard running Sissoko doesn’t give you anybody with a killer pass.
At least Ben Arfa was willing to have ago, regularly coming inside and beating his first man before shooting off target from distance rather than taking on the other four or five defenders lying in wait for him, knowing they had little to fear elsewhere.
Cisse cuts a lonely figure in games like this, he really is a striker who scores goals or looks like a liability at times. If chances aren’t being created then any striker is going to find it hard going – he gets on the end of things and is never going to be one who dribbles past two or three defenders and scores.
Hard to say how well our defence did as they were up against lone strike and one-time Toon target, Maiga. He didn’t prove a threat in any shape or form and West Ham’s best chances came when the ball was thrown in for midfielders running into the box…that’s a novel idea!
Thankfully, Nolan didn’t repeat last season’s smash and grab, fluffing arguably West ham’s best chance when he missed his header and the ball hit his neck.
Krul was comfortable and sharp, while Colo and Mapou looked ok.
Santon was back and could be invaluable in helping to drive us forward, while for me I thought Debuchy was one of our better players.
A lot of fans seem to have taken against him but one of his biggest assets is driving forward and on the occasions he was picked out today he looked a real threat.
Once again though, Newcastle are desperate for at least two more goal threats on the pitch, up front and in midfield. For all the effort today, until we get that extra threat on the pitch it is going to be an uphill struggle.
Newcastle United: Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Mapou, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux (Sammy Ameobi 66), Shola, Cisse (Gouffran 72)
West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Collins, Reid, O’Brien, Noble, Diame (Morrison 75), Jarvis, Nolan, Downing (Cole 64), Miaga
Unused Subs: Elliot, Dummett, Gosling, Bigirimana, Vuckic
Ref: Phil Dowd
Crowd: 49,622 (2,200 West Ham)
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